ITV Accepts Blame for Ad Error

ITV has accepted that its handling of the controversial advertising break during the closing stages of the San Marino Grand Prix was wrong following a reprimand from television watchdog OFCOM

ITV Accepts Blame for Ad Error

A report issued this week by OFCOM criticised the television broadcaster for choosing to go to an advertising break during the final four laps of the Imola event, as race leader Fernando Alonso fought off intense pressure from Michael Schumacher.

OFCOM said that ITV's actions breached regulations regarding the live coverage of continuous sporting events which stipulates that breaks "may be taken at points where the focus of coverage shifts from one point to another of the event."

ITV escaped any punishment for the incident but has made it clear that it accepts it acted incorrectly in going to the advertising break when it did.

"As the race progressed, the point at which the last race break would normally be taken passed and a judgment call was required," said an ITV spokesman. "In retrospect, the break should have been taken earlier but at the time it had been a difficult call to make."

The OFCOM report revealed that 126 viewers had complained about ITV choosing to go to the advertising break - with some of them suggesting that the coverage of F1 should be awarded back to the BBC.

The report stated: "We acknowledge the points made by ITV about its coverage of Formula One racing and recognise the problems it had faced in finding an appropriate point for the final race break due to the way the race had developed.

"We agree that the final race break was in breach of the Rules on the Amount and Scheduling of Advertising, having been taken during an ongoing focus on the battle between the lead drivers, where no natural break point had been present."

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